Dissertations & Theses (Open Access)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Melissa Peskin, Phd

Second Advisor

Casey Durand, Phd, Mph

Third Advisor

Christine Markham, Phd


Adolescent dating violence, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional aggression within a dating relationship, including stalking,” among adolescents in intimate relationships is a serious public health concern (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). Per the 2017 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) survey of high school students in the United States, 10.7 percent of females and 2.8 percent of males that reported a romantic relationship in the prior 12 months experienced sexual dating violence (Kann et al., 2018). Additionally, 9.1 percent of females and 6.5 percent of males reported physical dating violence, which included but was not limited to, being hit, punched, slammed into a wall, or otherwise injured (Kann et al., 2018). Dating violence occurs not only in high school-aged adolescents (i.e. 14-18 years old), but in younger adolescents as well. The baseline survey of the Dating Matters initiative found that among sixth, seventh, and eighth graders (ages 11-13) who had dated, 77 percent had perpetrated verbal or emotional abuse, 32 percent physical abuse, and 15 percent sexual abuse (Niolon et al., 2015). Dating violence among adolescents can result in serious mental and physical health outcomes. Longitudinal studies have shown that compared to individuals who did not experience dating violence, victimized adolescents are at greater risk of tobacco and marijuana use, depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation, heavy episodic drinking and binge eating, and antisocial behavior (Ackard, Eisenberg, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2007; D. Exner-Cortens, Eckenrode, & Rothman, 2013). Adolescents who experience dating violence are also at greater 2 risk of future victimization in late adolescence and adulthood when compared to those who have not experienced dating violence (D. Exner-Cortens et al., 2013; Deinera Exner-Cortens, Eckenrode, Bunge, & Rothman, 2017).